Ladysmead
A Novel in the Jane Austen Tradition
by Jane Gillespie
amazon.com
 (out of print)
1983
St. Martin's Press, New York ISBN 0-312-00111-8


        Review by Linda Waldemar, May 15, 1997
This is the story of an impoverished, widowed clergyman and two of his seven daughters; Sophia,
23, is the second and Lucinda, 15, is the youngest. Ladysmead is a house that is situated near the
Parsonage. The tenants must leave and it is then rented by a young widow, Mrs. Maria Rushton, and
her aunt Mrs. Norris.

 The neighbors include the Williams, a curate and his deaf mother, and the Mallets. Mr. Mallet is the
agent who attends to the affairs of Ladysmead for the absent owner.

The plot nor the characters here are very intricate, but I like this story. The Reverend Thomas
Lockley is a much more negligent father than Mr. Bennet ever was. Mrs. Norris is more annoying
than she was at Mansfield Park. Maria is selfish and miserable. Sophia is the mistress of the Lockley
house. She is a dutiful daughter and sister and has many crosses to bear which she bears without
complaint. Lucinda is young and impressionable. She is dazzled by Mrs. Rushton and acts like a
20th century teenager under Maria's influence.

The story progresses in a reasonable fashion. The characters are not very complicated, so their
development is adequate. The relationship of the lovers leaves a little to be desired. Their
declarations were a little incredible.

I liked this story. I found myself caring about the characters and getting very upset with Mrs. Norris.
If you should find this book in your local library, I recommend that you read it.


         Review by Lynn Lamy, September 4, 1997
I liked this book a lot.  It is hard to tell at first what it is supposed to be a continuation of, because it
is only peripherally about Mansfield Park.  It's really about a woman with two silly sisters who is
trying to take care of them and her father after their mother dies, and how she feels like the
possibility for a happy life for herself is passing her by.  I really liked it. The characters were good,
and the language was good.


        Review by Margaritula, February 25, 1999
I enjoyed Gillespie's P&P sequel TEVERTON HALL, but can't say the same for LADYSMEAD.
Even though the heroine, Sophia, was every bit as put upon as Fanny Price, I couldn't sympathize
with her at all, and none of the other characters--including Mrs. Norris and Maria--were of any
interest to me, either.  Moreover, as a Canadian I was offended by Gillespie's assumption--implicit in
Richard Dalby's lack of success in, and subsequent departure from, and rather disparaging reference
to that country--that early 19th century Canada was a howling wilderness both physically and as far
as opportunities went.